The greatest Pop song yet written and recorded.


This thread is an offshoot and was inspired by @mahgister’s wonderful thread "Interesting videos about sounds and music." I made a couple of contributions to that thread, recommending a video recorded quite a few years ago by (I believe) a music teacher, who sits at his keyboard while explaining and demonstrating the construction of the utterly majestic "God Only Knows", written by Brian Wilson (music) and Tony Asher (lyrics), recorded by The Beach Boys (vocals) and the L.A. studio musicians who comprised the legendary Wrecking Crew (instruments), the song found on the Pet Sounds album.

In my posts, I made the case for the highly sophisticated and incredibly brilliant chord progressions, modulations (key changes), and use of inversion (playing a bass note below the tonic of the chord being played on the piano) in the song’s composition. So when the video below appeared when I just jumped onto YouTube, it’s title really caught my eye. It is entitled "Exploring The Mythical Chords Of "God Only Knows"." Brian is well known for his harmony vocal arrangements, but that’s just the icing on the cake; the song itself is in it’s chords and melody. Some of the chord sequences in "God Only Knows" bring me to tears. Add to that the vocal harmonies---many sung in counterpoint---and Carl Wilson's angelic singing of the melody, and you have an absolute masterpiece of a song.

I have long considered "God Only Knows" my favorite song, and imo the "best" song ever written. I’m not alone in that; Paul McCartney has stated he feels the same. I could have added this video to @mahgister’s thread, but I believe the song and it’s appreciation warrant it’s own thread. Watch and listen to this video (and the one I posted in mahgister’s thread), give the song a new listen, and see if you don’t agree with Paul and I. 😉




Losing My Religion - REM

Space Oditty - Bowie

Suzanne - Cohen

Yellow Brick Road - Elton

I was 15 51 years ago when my brother brought this LP home.

 I was an instant fan, saw them in concert a handful of times.

who doesn’t love “Virginia Plain” from Roxy Music?



Fantastic list @tylermunns! For an example of Carole King’s early songwriting quality, give a listen to her "Halfway To Paradise". I first heard the song on an early (pre-debut album) Nick Lowe single on Stiff Records, and was stunned speechless; it’s an incredible song! Investigating, I learned it had first been recorded in 1961 by Tony Orlando (!), but I don’t remember hearing it. I was buying Pop singles in the early-60’s, and Carole’s name (along with that of her lyricist husband Gerry Goffin) was on a lot of them. She was already a professional songwriter while still in high school.


I just now stumbled upon another video in which "God Only Knows" is examined, and it might be my favorite of them all. A pianist with a pretty heavy Italian accent dissects the song, but what I really like about his presentation is that at the end of each section of the song, he plays through that section, so that one may hear what he just explained. The beauty of the song is fully expressed, the brilliance of it’s composition fully revealed.

If you decide to watch the video (Secret Chords Found In The Beach Boys: "God Only Knows" Analysis), and find yourself somewhat lost in the technical matters (when I and my musician peers got to college, many of us took Music Theory. We were surprised to learn how mathematical music is.), just let it go and keep watching and listening. You’ll "get it" anyway. 😉


How can we ever forget these "pure pop" songs?:

Sugar Sugar

Green Tambourine

Yummy Yummy Yummy


I enjoy each every time I hear them.


During the Hippie era, Pop became a dirty word. The 3-minute single became the domain of teenybopper music, not serious "Art". Pretentiousness became rampant, reaching it’s peak with Progressive Rock, the appearance of The Ramones finally putting a much-appreciated end to.

But I never stopped loving Paul Revere & The Raiders, whose "Just Like Me" is a fantastic Pop song! Sure, the chord progression is nothing special, but the song has a great melody, and the all-important sing-along chorus "hook", as well a really cool double-tracked guitar solo by Drake Levin. Plus, Mark Lindsey was (is?) a great singer.

I auditioned for a Hippie band in the spring of ’71, and after passing the audition (a jam from 10 PM to 6 AM the next morning) moved into the band house. The bass player helped me carry in my LP collection from my VW van (of course 😉), and after looking through the titles said to me "You like weird music." He had seen my Beach Boys albums (they had long ago become uncool), my Paul Revere & The Raiders, my Ventures, my Animals and Manfred Mann albums, my copy of Emitt Rhodes s/t debut (a Pop classic), my girl group albums, my Soul and R & B, my Country & Western (Hippies did not allow you to like Merle Haggard, even though Jerry Garcia did), and my Andy Williams Greatest Hits album (which contains some songs by Henry Mancini, a favorite of mine). But my Jazz and Classical were fine, of course. I liked some albums by current bands, like those of Moby Grape, The Sons (though a Hippie band---in fact as about as Hippie as they come---they were great), Spirit, Fleetwood Mac, Procol Harum, The Kinks, a few others.

I played the band The Beach Boys’ Smiley Smile album, with which I was at that time obsessed (read the two chapters on the making of Smile in the Paul Williams book Outlaw Blues if you don’t already know about this incredible album-that-never-was), and they just didn’t get it. I eventually had to quit the band; too much jamming/extended guitar soloing, too little playing and singing of songs.